Hepatitis B: All you need to know about this liver infection

Hepatitis B: All you need to know about this liver infection

Hepatitis B is one of the most dangerous liver diseases that are often caused by the hepatitis B virus. This virus attacks the liver with the motive of damaging it. The hepatitis B virus like most other viruses of its kind is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids. And this can occur through the following
  • Through direct blood to blood contact.
  • From an infected mother to her child during the process of delivery.
  • Through the use of unsterilized or untreated needles.
  • Through sexual intercourse.
  • It can also be transmitted through sharp objects like nail cutters, razor blades etc.
The hepatitis B virus, in the process of spreading and developing, the body through the immune system can fight it to a standstill. But if the immune system is weak, the chronic hepatitis B will develop and can cause liver cancer or cirrhosis. It has been noted that adults who have hepatitis virus can recover and develop antibodies against the virus. But it is often difficult or impossible for infants or newly born babies. Although individuals who have chronic hepatitis B live long and healthy lives. The virus can be in their liver for a very long time; even for years attacking their liver continuously without them knowing.

Like the symptoms of most viruses, the symptoms of hepatitis B virus infection takes the form of flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle pain, fever etc. Severe symptoms of this virus include vomiting, jaundice, and swollen stomach.

Hepatitis B is popularly referred to as the silent killer because most people do not know when they get infected. Individuals with hepatitis B can live healthy lives like every other normal person. Persons more prone to this virus infection are health care workers. The kind of life which an individual is living can predispose him or her to hepatitis B infection. Such way of life includes substance use and abuse, practising homosexuality, having multiple sex partners etc. Also being in contact with a person that has the infection can raise the risk of being infected, for example, children that are born to an already infected mothers, living with an infected person or having unprotected sex with an infected person.

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A blood test will show if an individual is infected or not. But for the blood to detect if the virus is in the blood stream of an infected person, the person must have being with the virus for up to 5 or 7 weeks.

There is no absolute cure for hepatitis B especially the chronic type of the virus. People with the disease can live a long life. Drugs are often administered to slow the progression of the virus. Drugs like Epivir-HBV and Hepsera are often used. As for the general symptoms of acute hepatitis B infection, there is no general treatment apart from rest and managing the symptoms.

Hepatitis B has been seen to be more infectious than the popularly notorious HIV/AIDS virus. There are many ways by which it can be prevented. Vaccination is often used essentially to protect infants, young children and adults. The vaccination helps the body to develop antibodies which are immune or which can fight the hepatitis B virus.
Other methods of prevention is by avoiding ways by which the infection can be contacted and also by living a healthy life.
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